ERIC Number: EJ792328
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Reference Count: 0
Independent Consulting and the American Evaluation Association: Twenty Years Later
Bonnet, Deborah G.
New Directions for Evaluation, n111 p5-8 Fall 2006
This article reviews the evolution of American Evaluation Association's (AEA) Independent Consulting Topical Interest Group (IC TIG). The TIG goes back a joint meeting held in San Francisco in 1984 of the Evaluation Network (ENet) and the Evaluation Research Society (ERS), two years before the organizations merged to become the AEA. On the fringes of conversations about evaluation theory, paradigms, and methodology, three independent consultants were searching for a more mundane kind of sharing: sources for affordable office supplies, essential clauses for evaluation contracts, and, most of all, a respite from the lonely business of solo evaluation practice. Among the four hundred or so (mostly university and government people) in attendance, Katheryn Hecht, Tara Davis Knott, and the author found one another, and the TIG was born. Other than sponsoring sessions at AEA, the TIG was not particularly ambitious in the early years. By 1992 the TIG membership stood at 293; in 2004, 713. Today it is 834, 18 percent of AEA's total membership. The IC TIG has grown not just in numbers but also in accomplishments. In 2004 it sponsored thirteen sessions at AEA's annual conference in addition to a business meeting. In recent years the TIG has embarked on three valuable projects: (1) a survey of TIG members' business practices, evaluation services, demographics, and so on; (2) a service whereby clients evaluate evaluators' performance; and (3) an ongoing process for peer review of draft evaluation reports. This review concludes with the author's own consulting practice as a case of how independent evaluation consulting has evolved since 1982.
Descriptors: Organizations (Groups), History, Consultants, Interests, Research Methodology, Politics of Education, Evaluation Research, Evaluators, Program Effectiveness, Business Skills
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/browse/?type=JOURNAL
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A